Kathmandu: Fake Bhutanese refugee scam has been at the center of Nepal’s political discussion–from the parliament to the street.
Forget the ordinary citizens, even politicians privately confess that the move of issuing arrest warrant against powerful leaders came as a surprise to them as they are familiar with the capacity and independence of the country’s security agencies.
The reputation of Nepal Police, as an institution, has constantly eroded over the last few decades. So is the case of Nepal’s anti-graft bodies including that of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
So what led the Nepal government to stand firmly in the ongoing investigation of the fake Bhutanese refugee scam?
Some leaders confess it privately while some have explicitly shared that the main reason for the leaders to take stand against the case is the concern from the US side.
On Wednesday, a leader from ruling CPN (Maoist-Center) said in the parliament meeting that the US agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also investigating the whole episode.
Earlier, Nepali Congress leader and Member of Parliament Dr Arzu Deuba Rana had stated that ‘the US agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also investigating the fake Bhutanese refugee scam’. She had also expressed her belief that the investigation by Nepal Police and FBI will bring out the truth.
Neither Nepal nor the US government has publicly commented on the issue. It is less likely that the governments will make any public comment given the confidentiality issues surrounding the investigation process.
The discussion, however, seems to be continued in Nepal’s political sphere given the sensitivity of the issue.
Why is the issue a concern for the USA? Kathmandu-based foreign affair commentators mention some of the reasons behind American concerns on the issue.
First, the racket involved in the scam has duped the public by promising to take them to the USA. It is natural to be concerned about the issue in which hundreds of people have been betrayed by promising them settlement in the USA.
Second, the USA would have invested millions for integration and settlement of them if fake refugee documents were provided to them and the settlement process had started based on the same documents. An ardent supporter of open and transparent society, the USA apparently does not want to invest in those who acquired refugee status by creating fake documents.
Third, the USA’s stand against the human trafficking efforts may be another crucial reason. The involvement of Nepal’s powerful ministries and public position holders in creating fake documents can be regarded as an organized human trafficking effort by the international communities. The USA, as a champion of human rights and democracy, cannot give legitimacy to such acts.